Lefthander Martín Pérez hinted at pessimism about a return to the Red Sox in 2021.
Pérez, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Red Sox for 2020 that included a $6.25 million option and $500,000 buyout for 2021, offered a cryptic tweet – “…” – on Monday night.
...— Martin Perez (@MartinPerez54d) October 27, 2020
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have not informed Pérez about a final decision related to his 2021 option, and suggested that the pitcher is uncertain of his fate. The team has to make its official decision on the option no later than three days after the conclusion of the World Series.
Pérez was the most consistent Red Sox starter in 2020, going 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 starts and 62 innings. The 29-year-old had 6.7 strikeouts and 4.1 walks per nine innings.
The Sox signed Pérez to his one-year deal with a 2021 option last December with the idea that he would serve as a back-of-the-rotation contributor behind (at the time of his signing) Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodríguez, David Price, and Nate Eovaldi. However, with the trade of Price and both Sale (Tommy John surgery) and Rodríguez (COVID-19-related myocarditis) out for the season, and Eovaldi missing a stretch because of a calf strain, Pérez was the closest thing the Red Sox had to a rotation anchor.
“We were very happy with what he did this year,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said just after the end of the season. “He came and was very consistent and a great teammate. A lot of positives there.”
Pérez frequently said he was thrilled to be a member of the Red Sox and expressed his hope the team would pick up his option for 2021. The Red Sox, coming off a 5.58 ERA that was the worst in team history, will be active in the pursuit of pitching help this winter, making it puzzling on the surface that there would be a question about whether to retain Pérez.
However, entering an offseason when there is a widespread expectation that the free-agent and trade markets could be flooded with talented players as teams cut payroll following losses in a season staged without fans, it’s possible the Red Sox would look either to bring back Pérez at a lower salary or that the team would prefer to explore a full range of options without committing to his option.